Skooter reporting 07/14/12
A device using mass-produced video gaming equipment had been built by Engineers letting disabled people to control a computer with just their eyes, priced under $30 or €20.
The team from Imperial College London who created the gadget consisted of two video game console cameras, costing less than $10 apiece, and is then attached outside the line of vision to a pair of ordinary glasses.
In the Journal of Neural Engineering, they team wrote that the cameras convey the eye's movements to an ordinary computer, wirelessly over Wi-Fi or via USB, and used one watt of power. The result, test subjects could control a cursor on a screen much like a computer mouse.
Co-author Aldo Faisal said they have achieved two things and these are: they have built a 3D eye tracking system hundreds of times cheaper than commercial systems and used it to build a real-time brain machine interface. This is a parsimonious innovation; developing smarter software and take undue credit existing hardware to create devices that can help people worldwide, he said.
The gadget also allowed patients to act together more easily and more quickly than technologies that need electrode implants in the brain, and is even more expensive.
The researchers further explain that by using mass-produced video game hardware, it is possible to produce an ultra-low cost binocular eye-tracker with comparable performance to commercial systems, yet 800 times cheaper.
The technology offers hope for bringing back some level of independence to people suffering from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy and spinal cord injuries or amputees.
As reported by scientists, there were more than 16 million people in EU alone with disabilities who would benefit from such a system.
Scientists also reported that in the past other low-cost eye-tracking systems that were developed showed much lower performance, while commercial-grade systems mainly used in research cost more than $20,000.
To prove their gadget's functionality, the team demonstrates by involving subjects playing the video game Pong using their eyes to bat a ball bouncing around on a computer screen. Six of the subjects who had never played this before got a "respectable score", said Faisal.
Earlier, there was a problem of involuntary blinking in controlling the computer however, the researchers said they have already resolved it by adjusting their system to work on a single-eyed wink. Many systems use a blink to represent a mouse click. What’s more, they managed to regulate how far into the distance their subjects were looking, giving a promise for future purpose that may allow people to control an electronic wheelchair just by looking at where they wish to go.
The research team is seeking for an investing partner "that embraces our low-cost approach" to make the device commercially available, Faisal said. Already they had filed for a patent.